By on January 22, 2020

Earlier this month, two GM engineers were arrested in Bowling Green, Kentucky for illegally street racing the new 2020 Chevrolet Corvette. Three Stingrays were present, but only two of the men were caught breaking the law. Kentucky State Police stopped Alexander Thim and Mark Derkatz on January 8th, on Lovers Lane in Bowling Green, for exceeding the road’s 45-mph speed limit.

Thim was busted doing 120 mph while Derkatz settled on a nice, round 100 mph, according to local outlet WNKY. However, even 26 mph over the limit would be enough to haul them into custody and set court dates that could end in a suspended license. It seems the two men were also fired from General Motors for hooning the mid-engined C8 before the general public was provided the opportunity.

On Wednesday, CarBuzz noted the men had changed their professional profiles to indicate they were no longer employed by the automaker:

Both of their respective LinkedIn pages reveal they each stopped working for the automaker as of January 2020. The timing is not coincidental. Thim’s page even specifically mentions he “previously worked at General Motors launching the new 2020 Corvette.” Derkatz wrote on his page, in past tense, about his “multiple roles at General Motors.”

Both are young, Thim is just 27 and Derkatz is 30, so they’ll find new jobs sooner or later. They’re also talented and highly-skilled engineers once assigned to work on perhaps the most important project the automaker has done in years. We can’t confirm whether they were fired or chose instead to resign, but it’s clear they’re out of the job at the moment. This all could have ended far worse if either of them got into a serious accident either injuring themselves or someone else.

While Lovers Lane appears to be a rather predictable and mostly straight road, driving at over twice the posted limit in an area with both residential and business traffic isn’t something we’d recommend. Obviously, the local authorities feel similarly.

“If the speed limit is 45 miles per hour, there is a reason for that so if you double or almost triple that, it makes it a lot more dangerous. There is a lot more things that can go wrong. It makes it a lot harder to see what is in front of you. It is a lot harder to react to vehicle and things in front of you,” Kentucky State Trooper Daniel Priddy told WNKY.

The men reportedly identified themselves as GM engineers when stopped by the police. They were held in the Warren County Regional Jail overnight and released on a pair of $1,000 bonds the following day.

[Image: General Motors]

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33 Comments on “Corvette Engineers Arrested for Street Racing, Apparently Fired from GM...”


  • avatar
    Jon

    I wonder what those two cars would go for at Barret.
    Stupidity and career suicide set aside. Thats one heck of a story to tell your friends.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    If these guys worked at a higher pay grade, they probably would have been fired and handed $50 million for their troubles, but sadly would probably still have lost their corporate health care coverage.

    Sorry for being a cynic. Couple engineers break the speed limit, nobody is hurt, and get fired (I’m sure with no unemployment). Boeing CEO oversees company negligence that kills what, 346 people, gets fired for it, and walks away with a $60m payday.

    Rick Wagoner got over $10m for losing billions of dollars and driving General Motors into bankruptcy.

    Not saying all these people don’t deserve to be fired, but the contrast in these stories really bugs me.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Even more silly is there is a TRACK right there – at the factory. Chances are they drove by it on their way past the cops.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    One strike and you’re out seems way over the top. If they had been caught drinking at their desks they would probably have gotten rehab or counseling.

    • 0 avatar
      Nick_515

      If some twenty somethings take cars out and drive them doing 120 mph… I wouldn’t exactly want to continue being their boss the next morning. How can you restore a modicum of respect for rules in the workplace knowing what they did? Why should others respect them once the cat is out the bag? It doesn’t seem over the top at all to me, it seems exactly what should happen.

      If the cop wasn’t there and they never got caught… that would not bug me. Nor do they deserve their lives to be ruined. They just deserve to be fired. They did. They’ll learn and move on.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    If they’d been Ferrari engineers in F488’s near Maranello, the local cops would have cheered them on.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Street racing is sh!t and people street racing company vehicles should be fired. Speeding on local roads with driveways is also sh!t. This is the correct response by GM, and whoever hires these guys would be best served by making sure they aren’t allowed to drive company vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I agree. Too many innocent people have died as a result of idiots street racing. Seems to happen every day in America. I constantly have people challenging me at stoplights and even on the highway while already driving 65 or 70 mph. These tools try to engage in top end pulls that go deep into triple digit speeds. Sorry, that’s not going to happen with me.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    No comment, too many skeletons decades ago consigned to the closet regarding this type of idiocy.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      This. Present and wiser me wants to pass harsh judgement, but present me is also lucky past me never faced any consequences for this sort of nonsense and will therefore shut up.

  • avatar

    My guess would be that it was an excellent opportunity to outsource their jobs to China or India.

  • avatar
    FThorn

    Family visited Bowling Green Corvette Assembly, and going to dinner afterwards, I signaled to get over from a wrong lane, into the correct/intended one, and a cop pulled me over.

  • avatar
    NoID

    “Both are young, Thim is just 27 and Derkatz is 30.”

    Maybe young by today’s standard of perpetual adolescence and 26-year-old “dependents”, but let’s not give these hoons the benefit of blaming their youth. These were grown-ass men, and knew this was a poor choice.

  • avatar

    @NoID: I respectfully disagree. I totally get your point, but they obviously were not “wise” grown-ass men. I’m tempted from time to time to brake check individuals following way too close, but I’m wise enough to understand that taking that action would quite likely result in a rear end collision that would damage my vehicle along with possible physical harm to myself, not to mention the harm to the tailgater. I either slow down when there is opportunity for the tailgater to pass easily or pull off the road to allow them to go their way. Not worth the risk. These individuals were not mature enough to evaluate the risks they were taking, not only regarding themselves, but others also.

    • 0 avatar
      White Shadow

      I’m not in any way advocating brake checks, but they rarely result in a rear end collision. The idea is to brake hard very briefly and then immediately let off the brake pedal. This normally ends up causing the offending driver to panic brake, but not to collide with you. I’ll admit that I’ve done a brake check or two when I was younger and dumber, but never even came close to getting rear ended as a result.

      • 0 avatar

        I get what you’re saying and agree. I should have been a bit more specific in my comment as I was thinking of those who follow so close I cannot see their headlights – i.e. less than a car length. Even then, when done “right”, a collision isn’t likely, but I’d rather not take the chance either way. Thanks for your comment White Shadow.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    just imagine if these guys ran a major aircraft company whose poor product killed hundreds of people and nearly wrecked the reputation of the company

    they might be let go too but w/ tens of millions of dollars

    • 0 avatar
      kcflyer

      Ironically it seems Boeings problems began when they stopped being run by engineers and instead put the bean counters in charge. Maybe these two should lose their licenses and be put in charge of design? Or send them to Detroit so they can remind those folks that GM still makes some awesome V8’s.

      • 0 avatar
        readallover

        Boeings problems stem from the `merger of equals` with McDonnell-Douglas.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          This is correct. Its amazing how McD exec, despite their decades of sliding into irrelevance, were not only able to engineer a buyout for their shareholders but to strangle hold control of Boeing and drive it into the ditch starting with the 787.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I think they were fired with cause. This would prevent them from unemployment compensation in ‘sane’ places.
    Fired Because;
    1. They violated company car rules. Test car, issued company car whatever – same rules. First rule is. Must obey all traffic rules and regulation.
    2. Embarrassed the Corporation. (yes- that is a rule)
    3. Colluded to do an illegal activity (#1 and #2 above). (meet me at Lover Lane a 5 PM and we ll drag race or whatever)

    They had to go to make an example to prevent similar behavior in the future. And they had a test track on site. Jeez.

  • avatar
    redapple

    They took a big hit.
    To go from launching the radical new corvette in an assembly plant to doing 8Ds at Livonia Transmission will really suck.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    These guys would have been wise to have studied the history of factory street racing back in sixties Detroit. GM ad-man Jim Wangers (GTO, 442) would go out on Woodward Avenue, but he was smart enough to have someone else driving the cars and rode shotgun. Similarly, ‘Father of the Hemi’ Tom Hoover would loan out his ’66 Hemi Coronet to someone else or simply give experimental parts to local Mopar guys to test on their cars.

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